Wednesday, August 22, 2007


When my birthday rolls around each year (Don't you love the cyclical time vs. linear time constructs in our language?), I tell people how old I am in the form of some kind of math problem. For example, at 32, I was two-to-the-fifth. At 33, I was three-by-eleven.

37 is prime. I suppose I could be nineteen-times-two-minus-one, but then people would have to beg, "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally!" for precedence. I hardly think, though, that they will think I'm nineteen.

While we're on the subject of mnemonic aids, which are different from marital aids ("Honey, could you remember to pick up a French Tickler?"), what do we do now that Pluto has been demoted? "My very educated mother just showed us nine..." Nine what?